“Plan a Bed” challenge

We are developing a new bed at Lavender Place, for the Veg4Reading project.

We set a challenge to design the bed (see below) and are delighted to announce the winners.

Global Garden layoutThe winning entry is "The Global Garden" by Emily Aldridge and Sam Hatfield. The judges like the Global Garden design as it showcases interesting vegetables from around the world which aren't commonly grown in the UK. Food4Families is keen to develop the global aspect of gardening so this garden really helps with that. The symmetrical design allows the four regions to be clearly marked out and the addition of 'pockets' of herbs in the inner part of the garden is a lovely idea too. It will make a great addition to Lavender Place Community Garden and provide the opportunity for those involved to grow an exciting range of vegetables!

Watch this space as we develop the bed.

The judges were also very impressed with "The Wellbeing Garden" designed by Susannah McClymont from the Langborough Wildlife Garden in Wokingham. The judges liked the whole concept of "The Wellbeing Garden" with the enclosed space in the middle, surrounded by sensory plants, providing a quiet, private space. The design is beautiful, combining a great selection of edible plants along with flowers to attract wildlife.

We are hoping to implement this garden at a later date, funding permitting, as it would be a little oasis as well as a great example that people could take ideas from to use at home.

The challenge (winter 2020/2021)

Over the winter, while we can’t do too much in the garden, we are looking for help in planning the layout and creating a planting plan. We would like to maximise the vegetables produced over as long a season as possible, so successional sowing would be great, as would cut-and-come-again crops.

New bedThe area is 5m x 5m, and it’s approximately aligned NE to SW (so N to S along the diagonal). Over the summer it gets lots of sunlight, although in autumn the shadow of the police station cuts the light early in the day.

The ground is demolition rubble covered in a layer of topsoil which was seeded with grass. In October we cut the grass, covered it with cardboard and a layer of homemade compost and well-rotted woodchip. The north corner gets very damp in wet weather - it probably has a compacted area of rubble underneath. Normally our biggest pest is pigeons, but there are also cabbage whites around, and eco-friendly ways to discourage pests should be considered in the plan. Companion planting is encouraged. The gardens have communal compost heaps and water butts, so those don’t need to be included in the plot, although minimising watering requirements would be a good idea.

What we would like:

  • A layout for the plot, with any landscaping features such as paths, raised beds etc
  • A planting plan indicating successional and follow-on planting where applicable
  • An explanation of your plan, highlighting sustainability features
  • (optional) Dates for sowing and harvesting the different crops

There is a prize of a £20 token to spend in the World Shop and Global Refills at RISC for the plan that in the judges’ opinion best fulfils this brief. Judging will be done by the Veg4Reading organisers Michele and Naomi, who are both Food4Families garden tutors.

To enter, please contact Beth by email to

The deadline is Sunday 7th February 2021, with the prize winner being announced on Monday 22nd February 2021.

The information Food4Families needs to collect to enable you to participate in the challenge is your name and email address. We need this information to communicate with you about the challenge. We will only keep your information for as long as is necessary to enable your participation in the challenge. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Prizes are as stated, are not transferable and there is no cash alternative.